and largest city
|Ethnic groups (2011)|
|•||Prime Minister||Viktor Orbán|
|•||Speaker of the National Assembly||László Kövér|
|•||Principality of Hungary||895|
|•||Christian Kingdom||25 December 1000|
|•||Golden Bull of 1222||24 April 1222|
|29 August 1541|
|•||Liberation of Buda||2 September 1686|
|•||Hungarian Revolution||15 March 1848|
|•||Austro-Hungarian Compromise||20 March 1867|
|•||Treaty of Trianon||4 June 1920|
|•||Third Republic||23 October 1989|
|•||Joined the European Union||1 May 2004|
|•||Current Fundamental Law||1 January 2012|
|•||Total||93,030 km2 (109th)
35,919 sq mi
|•||2015 estimate||9,855,571 (88th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2016 estimate|
|•||Total||$265.037 billion (57th)|
|•||Per capita||$26,941 (49th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2016 estimate|
|•||Total||$132.683 billion (58th)|
|•||Per capita||$13,487 (57th)|
|Gini (2014)|| 27.9
low · 16th
|HDI (2014)|| 0.828
very high · 44th
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|•||Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Drives on the||right|
|Patron saint||Virgin Mary|
|ISO 3166 code||HU|
|a.||Also .eu as part of the European Union.|
Hungary (i//; Hungarian: Magyarország [ˈmɒɟɒrorsaːɡ] ( listen)) is a parliamentary constitutional republic in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, Slovenia to the west, Austria to the northwest, and Ukraine to the northeast. The country's capital and largest city is Budapest. Hungary is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the Visegrád Group, and the Schengen Area. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.
Following centuries of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids and Avars, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late 9th-century by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád in the Honfoglalás ("homeland-conquest"). His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000 CE, converting the country to a Christian kingdom. By the 12th century, Hungary became a middle power within the Western world, reaching a golden age by the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526 and about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation (1541–1699), Hungary came under Habsburg rule, and later formed a significant part of the Austro–Hungarian Empire (1867–1918).
Hungary's current borders were first established by the Treaty of Trianon (1920) after World War I, when the country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, and 32% of ethnic Hungarians. Following the interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties. Hungary came under the influence of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a four-decade-long communist dictatorship (1947–1989). The country gained widespread international attention regarding the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal opening of its previously-restricted border with Austria in 1989, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.
Hungary is a popular tourist destination attracting 10.675 million tourists a year (2013). It is home to the largest thermal water cave system, the second-largest thermal lake in the world (Lake Hévíz), the largest lake in Central Europe (Lake Balaton), and the largest natural grasslands in Europe (the Hortobágy National Park).
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 2.1 Before 895
- 2.2 Medieval Hungary 895–1526
- 2.3 Ottoman wars 1526–1699
- 2.4 From the 18th century to World War I
- 2.5 Between the World Wars 1918–1941
- 2.6 World War II 1941–1945
- 2.7 Communism 1945–1989
- 2.8 Third Republic 1989–present
- 3 Geography
- 4 Governance
- 5 Foreign relations
- 6 Economy
- 7 Education
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Culture
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The "H" in the name of Hungary (and Latin Hungaria) is most likely due to early historical associations with the Huns, who had settled Hungary prior to the Avars. The rest of the word comes from the Latinized form of Byzantine Greek Oungroi (Οὔγγροι). According to an explanation the Greek name was borrowed from Old Bulgarian ągrinŭ, in turn borrowed from Oghur-Turkic Onogur ('ten [tribes of the] Ogurs'). Onogur was the collective name for the tribes who later joined the Bulgar tribal confederacy that ruled the eastern parts of Hungary after the Avars. The Hungarians likely belonged to the Onogur tribal alliance and it is quite possible they became its ethnic majority.
The Hungarian endonym is Magyarország, composed of magyar ('Hungarian') and ország ('country'). The word magyar is taken from the name of one of the seven major semi-nomadic Hungarian tribes, magyeri. The first element magy is likely from Proto-Ugric *mäńć- 'man, person', also found in the name of the Mansi people (mäńćī, mańśi, måńś). The second element eri, 'man, men, lineage', survives in Hungarian férj 'husband', and is cognate with Mari erge 'son', Finnish archaic yrkä 'young man'.
Part of a series on the
|History of Hungary|
The Roman Empire conquered the territory west of the Danube between 35 and 9 BC. From 9 BC to the end of the 4th century, Pannonia was part of the Roman Empire, located within part of later Hungary's territory. Here, a 600-strong Roman legion created the settlement Aquincum in 41–54 CE. A civil city grew gradually in the neighborhood of the military settlement, and in 106 CE Aquincum became the focal point of the commercial life of this area and the capital city of the Pannonian Inferior region. This area now corresponds to the Óbuda district of Budapest, with the Roman ruins now forming part of the modern Aquincum museum. Later came the Huns, who built a powerful empire. After Hunnish rule, the Germanic Ostrogoths, Lombards, and Gepids, and the polyethnic Avars, had a presence in the Carpathian Basin.
In the 9th century, East Francia, the First Bulgarian Empire and Great Moravia ruled the territory of the Carpathian Basin. The land was inhabited mainly by Avars. The Magyars advancing through the Carpathian Basin encountered the Hungarian-speaking Székely people who inhabited the land at that time.  Both contemporary sources and a growing amount of archaeological evidence suggests that groups of the Avars survived the disintegration of their empire.
The freshly unified Hungarians led by Árpád settled in the Carpathian Basin starting in 895. According to linguistic evidence, they originated from an ancient Uralic-speaking population that formerly inhabited the forested area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains.
Medieval Hungary 895–1526
As a federation of united tribes, Hungary was established in 895, some 50 years after the division of the Carolingian Empire at the Treaty of Verdun in 843, before the unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Initially, the rising Principality of Hungary ("Western Tourkia" in medieval Greek sources) was a state consisting of a semi-nomadic people. It accomplished an enormous transformation into a Christian realm during the 10th century.
This state was well-functioning and the nation's military power allowed the Hungarians to conduct successful fierce campaigns and raids from Constantinople to as far as today's Spain. The Hungarians defeated no fewer than three major East Frankish Imperial Armies between 907 and 910. A later defeat at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955 signaled a provisory end to most campaigns on foreign territories, at least towards the West.
Age of Árpádian kings
The year 972 marked the date when the ruling prince (Hungarian: fejedelem) Géza of the Árpád dynasty officially started to integrate Hungary into the Christian Western Europe. His first-born son, Saint Stephen I, became the first King of Hungary after defeating his pagan uncle Koppány, who also claimed the throne. Under Stephen, Hungary was recognized as a Catholic Apostolic Kingdom. Applying to Pope Sylvester II, Stephen received the insignia of royalty (including probably a part of the Holy Crown of Hungary, currently kept in the Hungarian Parliament) from the papacy.
By 1006, Stephen had consolidated his power, and started sweeping reforms to convert Hungary into a Western feudal state. The country switched to using the Latin language, and until as late as 1844, Latin remained the official language of Hungary. Hungary became a powerful kingdom. Ladislaus I extended Hungary's frontier in Transylvania and invaded Croatia in 1091. The Croatian campaign culminated in the Battle of Gvozd Mountain in 1097 and a personal union of Croatia and Hungary in 1102, ruled by Coloman i.e. Könyves Kálmán.
The most powerful and wealthiest king of the Árpád dynasty was Béla III, who disposed of the equivalent of 23 tonnes of pure silver a year. This exceeded the income of the French king (estimated at 17 tonnes) and was double the receipts of the English Crown.
Andrew II issued the Diploma Andreanum which secured the special privileges of the Transylvanian Saxons and is considered the first Autonomy law in the world. He led the Fifth Crusade to the Holy Land in 1217, setting up the largest royal army in the history of Crusades. His Golden Bull of 1222 was the first constitution in Continental Europe. The lesser nobles also began to present Andrew with grievances, a practice that evolved into the institution of the parliament (parlamentum publicum).
In 1241–1242, the kingdom received a major blow with the Mongol (Tatar) Invasion. Up to half of Hungary's then population of 2,000,000 were victims of the invasion. King Béla IV let Cumans and Jassic people into the country, who were fleeing the Mongols. Over the centuries, they were fully assimilated into the Hungarian population.
As a consequence, after the Mongols retreated, King Béla ordered the construction of hundreds of stone castles and fortifications, to defend against a possible second Mongol invasion. The Mongols returned to Hungary in 1285, but the newly built stone-castle systems and new tactics (using a higher proportion of heavily armed knights) stopped them. The invading Mongol force was defeated near Pest by the royal army of Ladislaus IV of Hungary. As with later invasions, it was repelled handily, the Mongols losing much of their invading force.
Age of elected kings
The Kingdom of Hungary reached one of its greatest extent during the Árpádian kings, yet royal power was weakened at the end of their rule in 1301. After a destructive period of interregnum (1301–1308), the first Angevin king, Charles I of Hungary – a bilineal descendant of the Árpád dynasty – successfully restored royal power, and defeated oligarch rivals, the so-called "little kings". The second Angevin Hungarian king, Louis the Great (1342–1382), led many successful military campaigns from Lithuania to Southern Italy (Kingdom of Naples), and was also King of Poland from 1370. After King Louis died without a male heir, the country was stabilized only when Sigismund of Luxembourg (1387–1437) succeeded to the throne, who in 1433 also became Holy Roman Emperor. Sigismund was also (in several ways) a bilineal descendant of the Árpád dynasty.
The first Hungarian Bible translation was completed in 1439. For half a year in 1437, there was an antifeudal and anticlerical peasant revolt in Transylvania, the Budai Nagy Antal Revolt, which was strongly influenced by Hussite ideas.
From a small noble family in Transylvania, John Hunyadi grew to become one of the country's most powerful lords, thanks to his outstanding capabilities as a mercenary commander. He was elected governor then regent. He was a successful crusader against the Ottoman Turks, one of his greatest victories being the Siege of Belgrade in 1456.
The last strong king of medieval Hungary was the Renaissance king Matthias Corvinus (1458–1490), son of John Hunyadi. His election was the first time that a member of the nobility mounted to the Hungarian royal throne without dynastic background. He was a successful military leader and an enlightened patron of the arts and learning. His library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, was Europe's greatest collection of historical chronicles, philosophic and scientific works in the 15th century, and second only in size to the Vatican Library. The library is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The serfs and common people considered him a just ruler because he protected them from excessive demands from and other abuses by the magnates. Under his rule, in 1479, the Hungarian army destroyed the Ottoman and Wallachian troops at the Battle of Breadfield. Abroad he defeated the Polish and German imperial armies of Frederick at Breslau (Wrocław). Matthias' mercenary standing army, the Black Army of Hungary, was an unusually large army for its time, and it conquered parts of Austria, Vienna (1485) and parts of Bohemia.
Decline of Hungary (1490–1526)
King Matthias died without lawful sons, and the Hungarian magnates procured the accession of the Pole Vladislaus II (1490–1516), supposedly because of his weak influence on Hungarian aristocracy. Hungary's international role declined, its political stability shaken, and social progress was deadlocked. In 1514, the weakened old King Vladislaus II faced a major peasant rebellion led by György Dózsa, which was ruthlessly crushed by the nobles, led by John Zápolya.
The resulting degradation of order paved the way for Ottoman pre-eminence. In 1521, the strongest Hungarian fortress in the South, Nándorfehérvár (today's Belgrade, Serbia), fell to the Turks. The early appearance of Protestantism further worsened internal relations in the country.
Ottoman wars 1526–1699
After some 150 years of wars with the Hungarians and other states, the Ottomans gained a decisive victory over the Hungarian army at the Battle of Mohács in 1526, where King Louis II died while fleeing. Amid political chaos, the divided Hungarian nobility elected two kings simultaneously, John Zápolya and Ferdinand I of the Habsburg dynasty. With the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, Hungary was divided into three parts and remained so until the end of the 17th century. The north-western part, termed as Royal Hungary, was annexed by the Habsburgs who ruled as Kings of Hungary. The eastern part of the kingdom became independent as the Principality of Transylvania, under Ottoman (and later Habsburg) suzerainty. The remaining central area, including the capital Buda, was known as the Pashalik of Buda.
The vast majority of the seventeen and nineteen thousand Ottoman soldiers in service in the Ottoman fortresses in the territory of Hungary were Orthodox and Muslim Balkan Slavs rather than ethnic Turkish people. Orthodox Southern Slavs were also acting as akinjis and other light troops intended for pillaging in the territory of present-day Hungary. In 1686, the Holy League's army, containing over 74,000 men from various nations, reconquered Buda from the Turks. After some more crushing defeats of the Ottomans in the next few years, the entire Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule by 1718. The last raid into Hungary by the Ottoman vassals Tatars from Crimea took place in 1717. The constrained Habsburg Counter-Reformation efforts in the 17th century reconverted the majority of the kingdom to Catholicism. The ethnic composition of Hungary was fundamentally changed as a consequence of the prolonged warfare with the Turks. A large part of the country became devastated, population growth was stunted, and many smaller settlements perished. The Austrian-Habsburg government settled large groups of Serbs and other Slavs in the depopulated south, and settled Germans (called Danube Swabians) in various areas, but Hungarians were not allowed to settle or re-settle in the south of the Great Plain.
From the 18th century to World War I
Between 1703 and 1711, there was a large-scale uprising led by Francis II Rákóczi, who after the dethronement of the Habsburgs in 1707 at the Diet of Ónod, took power provisionally as the Ruling Prince of Hungary for the wartime period, but refused the Hungarian Crown and the title "King". The uprisings lasted for years. After 8 years of war with the Habsburg Empire, the Hungarian Kuruc army lost the last main battle at Trencsén (1708).
During the Napoleonic Wars and afterwards, the Hungarian Diet had not convened for decades. In the 1820s, the Emperor was forced to convene the Diet, which marked the beginning of a Reform Period (1825–1848, Hungarian: reformkor). Count István Széchenyi, one of the most prominent statesmen of the country, recognized the urgent need of modernization and his message got through. The Hungarian Parliament was reconvened in 1825 to handle financial needs. A liberal party emerged and focused on providing for the peasantry. Lajos Kossuth – a famous journalist at that time – emerged as leader of the lower gentry in the Parliament. A remarkable upswing started as the nation concentrated its forces on modernization even though the Habsburg monarchs obstructed all important liberal laws relating to civil and political rights and economic reforms. Many reformers (Lajos Kossuth, Mihály Táncsics) were imprisoned by the authorities.
On 15 March 1848, mass demonstrations in Pest and Buda enabled Hungarian reformists to push through a list of 12 demands. Under governor and president Lajos Kossuth and the first Prime Minister, Lajos Batthyány, the House of Habsburg was dethroned. The Habsburg Ruler and his advisors skillfully manipulated the Croatian, Serbian and Romanian peasantry, led by priests and officers firmly loyal to the Habsburgs, and induced them to rebel against the Hungarian government, though the Hungarians were supported by the vast majority of the Slovak, German and Rusyn nationalities and by all the Jews of the kingdom, as well as by a large number of Polish, Austrian and Italian volunteers. In July 1849 the Hungarian Parliament proclaimed and enacted the first laws of ethnic and minority rights in the world. Many members of the nationalities gained the coveted highest positions within the Hungarian Army, like General János Damjanich, an ethnic Serb who became a Hungarian national hero through his command of the 3rd Hungarian Army Corps or Józef Bem, who was Polish and also became a national hero in Hungary. Initially, the Hungarian forces (Honvédség) defeated Austrian armies. To counter the successes of the Hungarian revolutionary army, Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph I asked for help from the "Gendarme of Europe", Czar Nicholas I, whose Russian armies invaded Hungary. This made Artúr Görgey surrender in August 1849. The leader of the Austrian army, Julius Jacob von Haynau, became governor of Hungary for a few months, and ordered the execution of the 13 Martyrs of Arad, leaders of the Hungarian army, and Prime Minister Batthyány in October 1849. Lajos Kossuth escaped into exile. Following the war of 1848 – 1849, the whole country was in "passive resistance".
Because of external and internal problems, reforms seemed inevitable and major military defeats of Austria forced the Habsburgs to negotiate the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, by which the dual Monarchy of Austria–Hungary was formed. This Empire had the second largest area in Europe (after the Russian Empire), and it was the third most populous (after Russia and the German Empire). The two realms were governed separately by two parliaments from two capital cities, with a common monarch and common external and military policies. Economically, the empire was a customs union. The old Hungarian Constitution was restored, and Franz Joseph I was crowned as King of Hungary. The era witnessed impressive economic development. The formerly backward Hungarian economy became relatively modern and industrialized by the turn of the 20th century, although agriculture remained dominant until 1890. In 1873, the old capital Buda and Óbuda were officially united with Pest, thus creating the new metropolis of Budapest. Many of the state institutions and the modern administrative system of Hungary were established during this period.
After the Assassination in Sarajevo, the Hungarian prime minister István Tisza and his cabinet tried to avoid the outbreak and escalating of a war in Europe, but their diplomatic efforts were unsuccessful. Austria–Hungary drafted 9 million (fighting forces: 7.8 million) soldiers in World War I (over 4 million from the Kingdom of Hungary) on the side of Germany, Bulgaria and Turkey. The troops raised in the Kingdom of Hungary spent little time defending the actual territory of Hungary, with the exceptions of the Brusilov Offensive in June 1916, and a few months later, when the Romanian army made an attack into Transylvania, both of which were repelled. In comparison, of the total army, Hungary's loss ratio was more than any other nations of Austria-Hungary. The Central Powers conquered Serbia. Romania declared war. The Central Powers conquered Southern Romania and the Romanian capital Bucharest. In 1916 Emperor Franz Joseph died, and the new monarch Charles IV sympathized with the pacifists. With great difficulty, the Central powers stopped and repelled the attacks of the Russian Empire.
The Eastern front of the Allied (Entente) Powers completely collapsed. The Austro-Hungarian Empire then withdrew from all defeated countries. On the Italian front, the Austro-Hungarian army made no progress against Italy after January 1918. Despite great Eastern successes, Germany suffered complete defeat on the more important Western front. By 1918, the economic situation had deteriorated (strikes in factories were organized by leftist and pacifist movements) and uprisings in the army had become commonplace. In the capital cities, the Austrian and Hungarian leftist liberal movements (the maverick parties) and their leaders supported the separatism of ethnic minorities. Austria-Hungary signed a general armistice in Padua on 3 November 1918. In October 1918, Hungary's union with Austria was dissolved.
Between the World Wars 1918–1941
The success of the 1918 Aster Revolution in Budapest brought Mihály Károlyi to power as prime minister and later as president of the first republic of Hungary. Károlyi ordered the full disarmament of the Hungarian Army, leaving Hungary without any national defence.
Romania took control of Transylvania and other parts of eastern Hungary, Czechoslovakia took control of the northern parts (also known as Upper Hungary), and a joint Serbian and French Army took control of the southern parts. These territories had majority populations of the respective occupying nations, but territories were occupied further than the ethnic boundaries, and so each had a significant Hungarian population as well. The post-War Entente backed the subsequent annexations of these territories.
In March 1919, the Communists took power in Hungary. In April, Béla Kun proclaimed the Hungarian Soviet Republic. Kun's government, like its immediate predecessor, proved to be short-lived. Despite some initial military successes against the Czechoslovakian Army, the Romanian Army defeated Kun's troops and took Budapest, ousting his regime.
On 4 June 1920, the Treaty of Trianon was signed, which established new borders for Hungary. Hungary lost 71% of its territory and 66% of its population. About one-third of the ethnic Hungarian population (3.4 of 10 million Hungarians) became minorities in neighboring countries. The new borders separated Hungary's industrial base from its sources of raw materials, and Hungary also lost its only sea port at Fiume (today Rijeka). The revision of the Treaty of Trianon rose to the top of Hungary's political agenda. Some wanted to restore the full pre-Trianon area, others only the ethnic Hungarian majority territories.
Rightist Hungarian military forces, led by the former Austro-Hungarian Admiral Miklós Horthy, entered Budapest in the wake of the Romanian Army's departure and filled the vacuum of state power. In January 1920, elections were held for a unicameral assembly. Admiral Horthy was elected Regent, thereby formally restoring the monarchy to Hungary. However, there would be no more kings of Hungary despite attempts by the former Habsburg ruler Charles IV to return to his former seat of power. Horthy ruled as Regent until 16 October 1944. Hungary remained a parliamentary democracy, but after 1932, autocratic tendencies gradually returned as a result of Nazi influence and the Great Depression.
World War II 1941–1945
The Germans and Italians granted Hungary a part of southern Czechoslovakia and Subcarpathia in the First Vienna Award of 1938. In early 1939 Hungary occupied the rest of Subcarpathia and, following the Slovak–Hungarian War, part of eastern Slovakia. Northern Transylvania was occupied following the Second Vienna Award of 1940. In 1941, the Hungarian army took part in the invasion of Yugoslavia, regaining some more territories. On 22 June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union under Operation Barbarossa. On 26 June, unidentified planes bombed the regained cities of Kassa, Munkács, and Rahó; as a response the next day Prime Minister László Bárdossy declared war on the Soviet Union, and formally entered World War II on the side of the Axis Powers. In late 1941, the Hungarian troops on the Eastern Front experienced success at the Battle of Uman.
In 1943, after the Hungarian Second Army suffered extremely heavy losses at the River Don, the Hungarian government sought to negotiate a surrender with the Allies. On 19 March 1944, as a result of this duplicity, German troops occupied Hungary in what was known as Operation Margarethe. As the front reached Hungary, Miklós Horthy made a token effort to disengage Hungary from the war on 15 October 1944, but he was replaced by a puppet government under the pro-German Prime Minister Ferenc Szálasi of the Arrow Cross Party.
The newly established fascist regime pledged all the country's capabilities in service of the German war machine. By October 1944, the Eastern Front was moving towards the river Tisza. Although the German and Hungarian troops experienced success at the Battle of Debrecen, it only delayed the advancing Soviet armies. By the end of December the soviets encircled the capital city - beginning the two months long Battle of Budapest.
During the Holocaust in Hungary and especially during the period of German occupation in May–June 1944, the fascist Arrow Cross Party and Hungarian police deported nearly 440,000 Jews, most to Auschwitz extermination camp, and nearly all were murdered. The Swedish Diplomat Raoul Wallenberg managed to save a considerable number of Hungarian Jews by giving them Swedish passports. Rudolf Kastner (original spelling Kasztner), one of the leaders of the Hungarian Aid and Rescue Committee, negotiated with senior SS officers such as Adolf Eichmann to allow a number of Jews to escape in exchange for money, gold, and diamonds. Other diplomats also organized false papers and safe houses for Jews in Budapest and hundreds of Hungarian people were executed by the Arrow Cross Party for sheltering Jews.
The war left Hungary devastated, destroying over 60% of the economy and causing significant loss of life. As many as 280,000 Hungarians were raped, murdered and executed or deported for slave labor by Czechoslovaks, Soviet Red Army troops, and Yugoslavs.
On 13 February 1945, the Hungarian capital city surrendered unconditionally, two months later the last German troops were pushed out of Hungary, and the Soviet occupation was complete. After the war and by the agreement between the Czechoslovakian president Edvard Beneš and Joseph Stalin, expulsions of 200,000 Hungarians from Czechoslovakia and 70,000 Slovaks from Hungary started. 202,000 (two thirds) of the ethnic Germans were also expelled to Germany pursuant to article XIII of the Potsdam Protocol of 2 August 1945.
Following the fall of Nazi Germany, Soviet troops occupied the entire country with the goal of forming Hungary into a communist satellite state of the Soviet Union. The Soviet leadership selected Mátyás Rákosi to front the Stalinization of the country. As General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party and later of the Hungarian Working People's Party, he was the de facto ruler from 1949 to 1956. His government's policies of militarization, industrialization, collectivization, and war compensation led to a severe decline in living standards. In imitation of Stalin's KGB, the Rákosi government established a secret political police, the ÁVH, to enforce the new regime. The purges that followed saw approximately 350,000 officials and intellectuals imprisoned or executed from 1948 to 1956. Many freethinkers and democrats were secretly arrested and taken to inland or foreign Nazi concentration camps without any judicial sentence. According to some estimates some 600,000 Hungarians were deported to Soviet labor camps, and at least 200,000 died in captivity.
After Stalin's death in 1953, the Soviet Union pursued a program of destalinization that was inimical to Rákosi, leading to his deposition from the premiership. The following political cooling saw the ascent of Imre Nagy to the premiership, and the growing interest of students and intellectuals in political life. Nagy promised market liberalization and political openness, while Rákosi opposed both vigorously. Rákosi eventually managed to discredit Nagy and replace him with the more hard-line Ernő Gerő. Hungary joined the Warsaw Pact in May 1955, as societal dissatisfaction with the regime swelled. Following the firing on peaceful demonstrations by Soviet soldiers and secret police, and rallies throughout the country on 23 October 1956, protesters took to the streets in Budapest, initiating the 1956 Revolution. In an effort to quell the chaos, the more liberal Nagy returned as premier, promised free elections, and took Hungary out of the Warsaw Pact.
The violence nonetheless continued, as revolutionary militias sprung up against the Soviet Army and the ÁVH; the roughly 3,000-strong resistance fought Soviet tanks using Molotov cocktails and machine-pistols. Though the preponderance of the Soviets was immense they suffered heavy losses, and by 30 October 1956 most Soviet troops had withdrawn from Budapest to garrison the Hungarian countryside. For a time, the Soviet leadership was unsure how to respond to developments in Hungary, but decided to intervene to prevent Hungary from breaking away from the Soviet bloc. On 4 November reinforcements of more than 150,000 troops and 2,500 tanks entered the country from the Soviet Union. Nearly 20,000 Hungarians were killed resisting the intervention, while an additional 21,600 were imprisoned afterwards for political reasons. Some 13,000 were interned and 230 brought to trial and executed. Nagy was captured, and was executed in 1958. Because borders had briefly been open, nearly a quarter of a million people had fled the country by the time the revolution was suppressed.
Kádár era 1956–1988
After a brief period of Soviet military occupation, János Kádár, Nagy's former Minister of State, was chosen by the Soviet leadership to act as the head of the new government. Kádár quickly normalized the situation. In 1963, the government granted a general amnesty and released the majority of those imprisoned for their active participation in the uprising. Kádár proclaimed a new policy line, according to which the people were no longer compelled to profess loyalty to the party if they tacitly accepted the Socialist regime as a fact of life. In many speeches, he described this as, "Those who are not against us are with us." Kádár introduced new planning priorities in the economy, such as allowing farmers significant plots of private land within the collective farm system (háztáji gazdálkodás). The living standard rose as consumer good and food production took precedence over military production, which was reduced to one tenth of the pre-revolutionary level.
This was followed in 1968 by the New Economic Mechanism (NEM), which introduced free-market elements into Socialist command economy. From the 1960s through the late 1980s, Hungary was often referred to as "the happiest barrack" within the Eastern bloc. During the latter part of the Cold War Hungary's GDP per capita was fourth only to East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union itself. As a result of this relatively high standard of living, a more liberalised economy, a less censored press, and less restricted travel rights, Hungary was generally considered one of the more liberal countries in which to live in Central Europe during communism. In the 1980s, however, living standards steeply declined yet again due to a worldwide recession to which communism was unable to respond. By the time Kádár died in 1989, the Soviet Union was in steep decline and a younger generation of reformists saw liberalization as the solution to economic and social issues.
Third Republic 1989–present
Hungarian history since the fall of communism has been marked by turbulent shifts in the political landscape: the years following 1989 have seen the office of prime minister held for 14 years by the right, for 9 years by the Hungarian Socialist Party and for 3 years by an independent; only Viktor Orbán completed an entire mandate and managed to be re-elected.
In May 1989, Hungary began taking down its barbed wire fence along the Austrian border – the first tear in the Iron Curtain – and first free elections were held in 1990. In 1991 most state subsidies were removed, leading to a severe recession exacerbated by the fiscal austerity.
In 1999, Hungary joined NATO and was immediately involved in the Yugoslav Wars. Hungary joined the European Union on 1 May 2004, following a 2003 national referendum where 85% voted in favor; negotiations had began in 1998.
Hungary's geography has traditionally been defined by its two main waterways, the Danube and Tisza rivers. The common tripartite division of the country into three sections—Dunántúl ("beyond the Danube", Transdanubia), Tiszántúl ("beyond the Tisza"), and Duna-Tisza köze ("between the Danube and Tisza")—is a reflection of this. The Danube flows north-south right through the center of contemporary Hungary, and the entire country lies within its drainage basin.
Transdanubia, which stretches westward from the center of the country toward Austria, is a primarily hilly region with a terrain varied by low mountains. These include the very eastern stretch of the Alps, Alpokalja, in the west of the country, the Transdanubian Mountains in the central region of Transdanubia, and the Mecsek Mountains and Villány Mountains in the south. The highest point of the area is the Írott-kő in the Alps, at 882 metres (2,894 ft). The Little Hungarian Plain (Kisalföld) is found in northern Transdanubia. Lake Balaton and Lake Hévíz, the largest lake in Central Europe and the largest thermal lake in the world, respectively, are in Transdanubia as well.
The Duna-Tisza köze and Tiszántúl are characterized mainly by the Great Hungarian Plain (Alföld), which stretches across most of the eastern and southeastern areas of the country. To the north of the Plain are the foothills of the Carpathians in a wide band near the Slovakian border. The Kékes at 1,014 m or 3,327 ft is the tallest mountain in Hungary and is found here.
Phytogeographically, Hungary belongs to the Central European province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, the territory of Hungary belongs to the ecoregion of Pannonian mixed forests.
Hungary has 10 national parks, 145 minor nature reserves, and 35 landscape protection areas.
Bükk National Park; Bükk is rich in karst formations, such as limestone caves
Autumn in the Bükk Mountains
Hungary has a continental climate, with hot summers with low overall humidity levels but frequent rainshowers and mildly cold snowy winters. Average annual temperature is 9.7 °C (49.5 °F). Temperature extremes are 41.9 °C (107.4 °F) on 20 July 2007 at Kiskunhalas in the summer and −35 °C (−31.0 °F) on 16 February 1940 Miskolc-Görömbölytapolca in the winter. Average high temperature in the summer is 23 to 28 °C (73 to 82 °F) and average low temperature in the winter is −3 to −7 °C (27 to 19 °F). The average yearly rainfall is approximately 600 mm (23.6 in). A small, southern region of the country near Pécs enjoys a reputation for a Mediterranean climate, but in reality it is only slightly warmer than the rest of the country and still receives snow during the winter.
Hungary is a unicameral parliamentary representative democratic republic. Members of Parliament (országgyűlési képviselő, pl. képviselők) are elected to the highest organ of state authority, the Országgyűlés, or National Assembly, every four years. Up until 2012, 386 MPs were elected to the National Assembly in two rounds of voting guaranteeing proportional representation with an election threshold of 5%. In 2012, the new Constitution lowered the number of MPs to 199 and instituted a first-past-the-post election with a single round. The Hungarian government operates according to its Basic Law, which was adopted by the governing parties two-thirds majority in 2012 but based on the post-war Constitution of West Germany.
The Prime Minister (miniszterelnök) serves as the head of government and is elected by the National Assembly. Therefore, traditionally, the Prime Minister is the leader of the party with the most seats in parliament. The Prime Minister selects Cabinet ministers and has the exclusive right to dismiss them. Cabinet nominees must appear before consultative open hearings before one or more parliamentary committees, survive a vote in the National Assembly, and be formally approved by the President.
The President of the Republic (köztársasági elnök or less formally: államelnök or államfő) serves as the head of state and is elected by the National Assembly every five years. The President has a largely ceremonial role. He receives foreign heads of state and formally nominates the Prime Minister at the recommendation of the National Assembly. He is also the Commander-in-Chief of the country's armed forces. Importantly, the President may veto a piece of legislation or send it to the 15-member Constitutional Court for review.
Since the fall of communism, Hungary has had a multi-party system. The current political landscape in Hungary is dominated by the conservative Fidesz, who have a near supermajority, and two medium-sized parties, the left-wing Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and nationalist Jobbik.
|Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség
|Hungarian Socialist Party
Magyar Szocialista Párt
|Jobbik (Movement for a Better Hungary)
Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom
|Christian Democratic People's Party
|Politics Can Be Different
Lehet Más a Politika
|Dialogue for Hungary
|Hungarian Liberal Party
Magyar Liberális Párt
Administratively, Hungary is divided into 19 counties (megye, plural megyék). In addition, the capital (főváros), Budapest, is independent of any county government. The counties and the capital are the 20 NUTS third-level units of Hungary. The counties are further subdivided into 198 ridings (járás, plural járások) as of 1 January 2013. There are also 23 towns with county rights (singular megyei jogú város), sometimes known as "urban counties" in English (although there is no such term in Hungarian). The local authorities of these towns have extended powers, but these towns belong to the territory of the respective county instead of being independent territorial units.
Since 1996, the counties and City of Budapest have been grouped into 7 regions for statistical and development purposes. These seven regions constitute NUTS' second-level units of Hungary. They are: Central Hungary, Central Transdanubia, Northern Great Plain, Northern Hungary, Southern Transdanubia, Southern Great Plain, and Western Transdanubia.
The Military of Hungary, or "Hungarian Armed Forces", currently has two branches, the "Hungarian Ground Force" and the "Hungarian Air Force". The Hungarian Ground Force (or Army) is known as the "Corps of Homeland Defenders" (Honvédség). This term was originally used to refer to the revolutionary army established by Lajos Kossuth and the National Defence Committee of the Revolutionary Hungarian Diet in September 1848 during the Hungarian Revolution.
Hussar: A type of irregular light horsemen was already well established by the 15th century in medieval Hungary. Hussar (huszár) refers to a number of types of light cavalry created in Hungary in the 15th century and used throughout Europe and even in America since the 18th century. Some modern military units retain the title 'hussar' for reasons of tradition.
In 1997, Hungary spent about 123 billion HUF ($560 million) on defence. Hungary became a member of NATO on 12 March 1999. Hungary provided airbases and support for NATO's air campaign against Serbia and has provided military units to serve in Kosovo as part of the NATO-led KFOR operation. Hungary sent a 300-strong logistics unit to Iraq in order to help the US occupation with armed transport convoys, though public opinion opposed the country's participation in the war. One soldier was killed in action because of a roadside bomb in Iraq. The parliament refused to extend the one-year mandate of the logistics unit, and all troops had returned from Iraq by mid-January 2005.
Hungarian troops are still in Afghanistan as of early 2014 to assist in peace-keeping and de-talibanization. Hungarian forces deploy the Gepárd anti-materiel rifle, which is a heavy 12.7 mm (0.50 in) portable gun.
In a significant move for modernization, Hungary decided in 2001 to buy 14 JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft (the contract includes 2 dual-seater airplanes and 12 single-seaters as well as ground maintenance facilities, a simulator, and training for pilots and ground crews) for 210 billion HUF (about 800 million EUR). Five Gripens (3 single-seaters and 2 two-seaters) arrived in Kecskemét on 21 March 2006, expected to be transferred to the Hungarian Air Force on 30 March. 10 or 14 more aircraft of this type might follow up in the coming years.
The Home Defence Pyrotechnician and Warship Battalion of the Hungarian Defence Forces is based in Újpest Port, on the River Danube, Budapest. In the 2000s, the army bought new minesweepers and restored or retired the old ones. On national holidays, warships come along the River Danube in Budapest.
According to the 2014 Global Peace Index, Hungary is one of the world's most peaceful countries (21st on the list).
Hungary has been a member of the United Nations since December 1955, and was a signatory to the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. Between 1947 and 1989, Hungary’s foreign policy generally followed the lead of the Soviet Union.
Since 1989, Hungary's top foreign policy goal has been achieving integration into Western economic and security organizations. Hungary joined the Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and has actively supported the IFOR and SFOR missions in Bosnia. Hungary was invited to join both the NATO and the European Union in 1997. It became a member of NATO in 1999, and a member of the EU in 2004. Hungary took on the presidency of the Council of the European Union for half a year in 2011.
Hungary since 1989 has also improved its often frosty neighborly relations by signing basic treaties with Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. These renounce all outstanding territorial claims and lay the foundation for constructive relations. However, the issue of ethnic Hungarian minority rights in Romania, Slovakia and Serbia periodically causes bilateral tensions to flare up. Hungary since 1989 has signed all of the CSCE/OSCE documents, and served as the OSCE's chairman-in-Office in 1997. Hungary's record of implementing CSCE Helsinki Final Act provisions, including those on reunification of divided families, remains among the best in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Hungarian Fidesz government since 2010 evoked criticism from the European Union partners and Council of Europe concerning a press and media law seen by some as anti-democratic and a new constitution that was feared to undermine the rule of law and human rights protection.
Hungary is an OECD high-income mixed economy with very high human development index and skilled labour force with the 16th lowest income inequality in the world, furthermore it is the 15th most complex economy according to the Economic Complexity Index. The Hungarian is the 57th-largest economy in the world (out of 188 countries measured by IMF) with $265.037 billion output, and ranks 49th in the world in terms of GDP per capita measured by purchasing power parity. Hungary is an export-oriented market economy with a heavy emphasis on foreign trade, thus the country is the 36th largest export economy in the world. The country has more than $100 billion export in 2015 with high, $9.003 billion trade surplus, of which 79% went to the EU and 21% was extra-EU trade. Hungary has a more than 80% privately owned economy with 39,1% overall taxation, which provides the basis for the country's welfare economy. On the expenditure side, household consumption is the main component of GDP and accounts for 50 percent of its total use, followed by gross fixed capital formation with 22 percent and government expenditure with 20 percent.
Hungary continues to be one of the leading nations for attracting foreign direct investment in Central and Eastern Europe, the inward FDI in the country was $119.8 billion in 2015, while Hungary invest more than $50 billion abroad. As of 2015[update], the key trading partners of Hungary were Germany, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, France, Italy, Poland and Czech Republic. Major industries include food processing, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, information technology, chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, and tourism (in 2014 Hungary welcomed 12.1 million international tourists). Hungary is the largest electronics producer in Central and Eastern Europe. Electronics manufacturing and research are among the main drivers of innovation and economic growth in the country. In the past 20 years Hungary has also grown into a major center for mobile technology, information security, and related hardware research. The employment rate in the economy was 65.0% in 2015, the employment structure shows the characteristics of post-industrial economies, 63.2% of employed workforce work in service sector, the industry contributed by 29.7%, while agriculture with 7.1%. Unemployment rate was 6.2% in 2015 December, down from 11% during the financial crisis of 2007–08. Hungary is part of the European single market which represents more than 508 million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union members and by EU legislation.
Large Hungarian companies are included in the BUX, the Hungarian stock market index listed on Budapest Stock Exchange. Well-known companies include the Fortune Global 500 firm MOL Group, the OTP Bank, Gedeon Richter, Magyar Telekom, CIG Pannonia, FHB Bank, Zwack Unicum and more. Besides this Hungary has large portion of specialised small and medium enterprise, for example a significant number of automotive suppliers and technology start ups among others.
Budapest is the financial and business capital of Hungary. The capital is a significant economic hub, classified as an Alpha- world city in the study by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network and it is the second fastest-developing urban economy in Europe as GDP per capita in the city increased by 2.4 per cent and employment by 4.7 per cent compared to the previous year in 2014. On national level, Budapest is the primate city of Hungary regarding business and economy, accounting for 39% of the national income, the city has a gross metropolitan product more than $100 billion in 2015, making it one of the largest regional economy in the European Union. Budapest is also among the Top100 GDP performing cities in the world, measured by PricewaterhouseCoopers and in a global city competitiveness ranking by EIU, Budapest is stands before Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Moscow and Johannesburg among others.
Hungary maintains its own currency, the Hungarian forint (HUF), although the economy fulfill the Maastricht criteria with the exception of public debt, but it is also significantly below the EU average with the level of 75.3% in 2015. The Hungarian National Bank—founded in 1924, after the dissolution of Austro-Hungarian Empire—is currently focusing on price stability with an inflation target of 3%.
Science and technology
Hungary's achievements in science and technology have been significant and research and development efforts form an integral part of the country's economy. Hungary has been the home of some of the most prominent researchers in various scientific disciplines, notably physics, mathematics, chemistry and engineering. Scientific research in the country is supported partly by industry and partly by the state, through the network of Hungarian universities and by scientific state-institutions such as Hungarian Academy of Sciences. 13 Hungarian scientists have received the Nobel Prize. Until 2012 three individuals: Csoma, János Bolyai and Tihanyi were included in the UNESCO Memory of the world register as well as the collective contributions: Tabula Hungariae and Bibliotheca Corviniana. Contemporary, internationally well-known Hungarian scientists include: mathematician László Lovász, physicist Albert-László Barabási, physicist Ferenc Krausz, and biochemist Árpád Pusztai.
Hungary is famous for its excellent mathematics education which has trained numerous outstanding scientists. Famous Hungarian mathematicians include father Farkas Bolyai and son János Bolyai, who was one of the founders of non-Euclidean geometry; Paul Erdős, famed for publishing in over forty languages and whose Erdős numbers are still tracked, and John von Neumann, a key contributor in the fields of quantum mechanics and game theory, a pioneer of digital computing, and the chief mathematician in the Manhattan Project. Many Hungarian scientists, including Erdős, von Neumann, Leó Szilárd, Eugene Wigner, Rudolf E. Kálmán, and Edward Teller emigrated to the US during the 20th century dictatorships.
Hungary has a highly developed road, railway, air and water transport system. Budapest, the capital, serves as an important hub for the Hungarian railway system (MÁV). The capital is served by three large train stations called Keleti (Eastern), Nyugati (Western), and Déli (Southern) pályaudvars. Szolnok is the most important railway hub outside Budapest, while Tiszai Railway Station in Miskolc and the main stations of Pécs, Győr, Szeged, and Székesfehérvár are also key to the network.
Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc, and Szeged have tram networks. The Budapest Metro is the second-oldest underground metro system in the world; its Line 1 dates from 1896 and is a World Heritage Site. The system consists of four lines. A commuter rail system, HÉV, operates in the Budapest metropolitan area. Hungary has a total length of approximately 1,314 km (816.48 mi) motorways (Hungarian: autópálya). Motorway sections are being added to the existing network, which already connects many major economically important cities to the capital. The most important port is Budapest. Other important ones include Dunaújváros and Baja.
There are five international airports in Hungary: Budapest Liszt Ferenc, Debrecen, Sármellék (also called Hévíz-Balaton Airport), Győr-Pér, and Pécs-Pogány. The national carrier, MALÉV, operated flights to over 60, mostly European cities, but ceased operations in 2012. Low-budget airline WizzAir is based in Hungary, at Ferihegy.
Education in Hungary is compulsory from 5 to 18 (16 for the students in grade 10 and below). At the age of six, pupils enter primary schools: the curriculum is divided into two phases of 4 years each. Afterward, they can choose between three different kinds of secondary education school: Grammar school (leading to academic higher education), secondary vocational school (leading to vocational higher education) and vocational school (leading to the world of work). The system is partly flexible and bridges exist (graduates from a vocational school can achieve a two years program to have access to vocational higher education for instance).
The Hungarian higher education is a dual system, divided into colleges (that usually provide bachelor's degrees) and universities (that usually provide master's degrees). Hungary's higher education and training has been ranked 44 out of 148 countries in the Global competitiveness Report 2013/2014.
In the year 1276, the university of Veszprém was destroyed by the troops of Peter Csák and it was never rebuilt. A university was established in Pécs in 1367. Sigismund established a university at Óbuda in 1395. Another, Universitas Istropolitana, was established 1465 in Pozsony (now Bratislava in Slovakia) by Mattias Corvinus. Nagyszombat University was founded in 1635 and moved to Buda in 1777 and it is called Eötvös Loránd University today. The world's first institute of technology was founded in Selmecbánya, Kingdom of Hungary (since 1920 Banská Štiavnica, now Slovakia) in 1735. Its legal successor is the University of Miskolc in Hungary. The Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) is considered the oldest institute of technology in the world with university rank and structure. Its legal predecessor the Institutum Geometrico-Hydrotechnicum was founded in 1782 by Emperor Joseph II.
The first steam engine of continental Europe was built in Újbánya – Köngisberg, Kingdom of Hungary (Today Nová Baňa Slovakia) in 1722. It was a Newcomen-type engine, used for pumping water from mines.
Hungary's population was 9,937,628 in 2011. Population density stands at 107 inhabitants per square kilometre, which is about two times higher than the World average. More than one quarter of the population lived in the Budapest metropolitan area, 6,903,858 people (69.5%) in cities and towns overall. Like most other European countries, Hungary is experiencing sub-replacement fertility, with the total fertility rate (TFR) in 2015 estimated at 1.43 children born/woman, lower than the replacement rate of 2.1. This is leading to gradual population decline and rapid aging. In 2013, 45.6% of births were to unmarried women. Life expectancy was 71.96 years for men and 79.62 years for women in 2015, growing continuously since the fall of Communism.
According to the 2011 census, 9,896,333 people (99.6%) speak Hungarian, of whom 9,827,875 people (99%) speak it as a first language, while 68,458 people (0.7%) speak it as a second language. Hungarian is a Uralic language unrelated to any neighboring language and distantly related to Finnish and Estonian. English (1,589,180 speakers, 16.0%), and German (1,111,997 speakers, 11.2%) are the most widely spoken foreign languages, while there are several recognized minority languages in Hungary (Croatian, German, Romanian, Romani, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Ukrainian).
According to the 2011 census, there were 8,314,029 (83.7%) Hungarians, 308,957 (3.1%) Romani, 131,951 (1.3%) Germans, 29,647 (0.3%) Slovaks, 26,345 (0.3%) Romanians, and 23,561 (0.2%) Croats in Hungary. 1,455,883 people (14.7% of the total population) did not declare their ethnicity. Thus, Hungarians made up 98.0% of people which declared their ethnicity. In Hungary, people can declare more than one ethnicity, so the sum of ethnicities is higher than the total population.
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
Hungary is a historically Christian country. Stephen I instituted Roman Catholicism as the official religion of the realm at its founding, and his successors were traditionally known as the Apostolic Kings. The Church in Hungary remained strong through the centuries, and the Archbishop of Esztergom (Esztergomi érsek) was granted extraordinary temporal privileges as prince-primate (hercegprímás) of Hungary. Although contemporary Hungary has no official religion, its constitution "recognizes Christianity's nation-building role." The power to grant the officially recognized status of a church is vested in the legislature, and not the judiciary; this setup has been the subject of criticism.
After 16th century and the Reformation, most Hungarians took up first Lutheranism, then soon afterwards Calvinism. In the second half of the 16th century, however, Jesuits led a successful campaign of counterreformation and the country once again became predominantly Catholic. Eastern parts of the country, especially around Debrecen (called "the Calvinist Rome"), retained strong Protestant communities. Orthodox Christianity in Hungary is associated with the country's ethnic minorities including the Romanians, Rusyns, Ukrainians, and Serbs.
Historically, Hungary was home to a significant Jewish community. Some Hungarian Jews were able to escape the Holocaust during World War II, but most (perhaps 550,000) either were deported to concentration camps, from which the majority did not return, or were murdered by the Hungarian Arrow Cross fascists. Because most deported Jews were from the countryside, Budapest is the center of Hungarian Jewish life today.
The most recent, 2011 census shows that the majority of Hungarians are Christians (52.9%), with Roman Catholics (Katolikusok) (37.1%) and Hungarian Reformed Calvinists (Reformátusok) (11.1%) making up the bulk of these alongside Lutherans (Evangélikusok) (2.2%), Greek Catholics (0.3%), and Jehovah's Witnesses (0.1%). Jewish (0.1%), and Muslim (0.06%) communities are in the minority, although this is complicated by the fact that 27.2% of respondents did not declare their religion while 16.7% declared themselves irreligious, another 1.5% atheist.
According to new polls about Religiosity in the European Union in 2012 by Eurobarometer found that Christianity is the largest religion in Hungary accounting 71% of Hungarians. Catholics are the largest Christian group in Hungary, accounting for 58% of Hungary citizens, while Protestants make up 7%, and Other Christian make up 6%. Non believer/Agnostic account 21%, Atheist account's 1%.
In the Eurostat – Eurobarometer poll of 2005, 44% of Hungarians answered that they believed there is a God, 31% answered they believed there is some sort of spirit or life force, and 19% that they do not believe there is a God, spirit, nor life force.
Hungary is home to the largest synagogue in Europe (Great Synagogue), built in 1859 in Moorish Revival style with a capacity of 3000 people, the largest medicinal bath in Europe (Széchenyi Medicinal Bath), completed in 1913 in Modern Renaissance Style and located in the City park, the biggest building in Hungary with its 268 meters length (the Parliament building), one of the largest basilicas in Europe (Esztergom Basilica), the second largest territorial abbey in the world (Pannonhalma Archabbey), and the largest early Christian necropolis outside Italy (Pécs).
Notable architectural styles in Hungary include Historicism and Art Nouveau, or rather several variants of Art Nouveau. In contrast to Historicism, Hungarian Art Nouveau is based on the national architectural characteristics. Taking the eastern origins of the Hungarians into account, Ödön Lechner (1845–1914), the most important figure in Hungarian Art Nouveau, was initially inspired by Indian and Syrian architecture, and later by traditional Hungarian decorative designs. In this way, he created an original synthesis of architectural styles. By applying them to three-dimensional architectural elements, he produced a version of Art Nouveau that was specific to Hungary.
Turning away from the style of Lechner, yet taking inspiration from his approach, the group of "Young People" (Fiatalok), which included Károly Kós and Dezsö Zrumeczky, were to use the characteristic structures and forms of traditional Hungarian architecture to achieve the same end.
Besides the two principal styles, Budapest also displays local versions of trends originating from other European countries. The Sezession from Vienna, the German Jugendstil, Art Nouveau from Belgium and France, and the influence of English and Finnish architecture are all reflected in the buildings constructed at the turn of the 20th century. Béla Lajta initially adopted Lechner's style, subsequently drawing his inspiration from English and Finnish trends; after developing an interest in the Egyptian style, he finally arrived at modern architecture. Aladár Árkay took almost the same route. István Medgyaszay developed his own style, which differed from Lechner's, using stylised traditional motifs to create decorative designs in concrete. In the sphere of applied arts, those chiefly responsible for promoting the spread of Art Nouveau were the School and Museum of Decorative Arts, which opened in 1896.
Foreigners have unexpectedly "discovered" that a significantly large portion of the citizens live in old and architecturally valuable buildings. In the Budapest downtown area almost all the buildings are about hundred years old, with thick walls, high ceilings, and motifs on the front wall.
The music of Hungary consists mainly of traditional Hungarian folk music and music by prominent composers such as Liszt and Bartók, considered to be the greatest Hungarian composers .[by whom?] Other composers of international renown are Dohnányi, Franz Schmidt, Zoltán Kodály, Gabriel von Wayditch, Rudolf Wagner-Régeny, László Lajtha, Franz Lehár, Imre Kálmán, Sándor Veress and Rózsa. Hungarian traditional music tends to have a strong dactylic rhythm, as the language is invariably stressed on the first syllable of each word.
Hungary also has a number of internationally renowned composers of contemporary classical music, György Ligeti, György Kurtág, Péter Eötvös, Zoltán Kodály and Zoltán Jeney among them. One of the greatest Hungarian composers, Béla Bartók, was also among the most significant musicians of the 20th century. His music was invigorated by the themes, modes, and rhythmic patterns of the Hungarian and neighboring folk music traditions he studied, which he synthesized with influences from his contemporaries into his own distinctive style .
Hungary has made many contributions to the fields of folk, popular and classical music. Hungarian folk music is a prominent part of the national identity and continues to play a major part in Hungarian music. Hungarian folk music has been significant in former country parts that belong – since the 1920 Treaty of Trianon – to neighbouring countries such as Romania, Slovakia, southern Poland and especially in southern Slovakia and Transylvania; both regions have significant numbers of Hungarians. After the establishment of a music academy led by Ferenc Erkel and Franz Liszt Hungary produced an important number of art musicians:
- Pianists: Ernő von Dohnányi, Ervin Nyíregyházi, Andor Földes, Tamás Vásáry, György Sándor, Géza Anda, Annie Fischer, György Cziffra, Edward Kilényi, Bálint Vázsonyi, András Schiff, Zoltán Kocsis, Dezső Ránki, Jenő Jandó and others.
- Violists: Joseph Joachim, Leopold Auer, Jenő Hubay, Jelly d'Arányi, Joseph Szigeti, Sándor Végh, Emil Telmanyi, Ede Zathurecky, Zsigmondy, Franz von Vecsey, Zoltán Székely, Tibor Varga and newcomers Antal Szalai, Vilmos Szabadi, Kristóf Baráti (b. 79) and others.
- Opera singers: Astrid Varnay, József Simándy, Júlia Várady, Júlia Hamari, Kolos Kováts (Bluebeard in Bartók's Bluebeard)
- Conductors: Eugene Ormandy, George Szell, Antal Doráti, János Ferencsik, Fritz Reiner, sir Georg Solti, István Kertész, Ferenc Fricsay, Zoltán Rozsnyai, Sándor Végh, Árpád Joó, Ádám Fischer, Iván Fischer, Péter Eötvös, Zoltán Kocsis, Tamás Vásáry, Gilbert Varga and others
- String Quartets: Budapest Quartet, Hungarian Quartet, Végh Quartet, Takács Quartet, Kodály Quartet, Éder Quartet, Festetics Quartet,
Broughton claims that Hungary's "infectious sound has been surprisingly influential on neighboring countries (thanks perhaps to the common Austro-Hungarian history) and it's not uncommon to hear Hungarian-sounding tunes in Romania, Slovakia and southern Poland". It is also strong in the Szabolcs-Szatmár area and in the southwest part of Transdanubia, near the border with Croatia. The Busójárás carnival in Mohács is a major Hungarian folk music event, formerly featuring the long-established and well-regarded Bogyiszló orchestra.
Hungarian classical music has long been an "experiment, made from Hungarian antedecents and on Hungarian soil, to create a conscious musical culture [using the] musical world of the folk song". Although the Hungarian upper class has long had cultural and political connections with the rest of Europe, leading to an influx of European musical ideas, the rural peasants maintained their own traditions such that by the end of the 19th century Hungarian composers could draw on rural peasant music to (re)create a Hungarian classical style. For example, Bartók collected folk songs from across Central and Eastern Europe, including Romania and Slovakia, whilst Kodály was more interested in creating a distinctively Hungarian musical style.
During the era of Communist rule in Hungary (1944–1989), a Song Committee scoured and censored popular music for traces of subversion and ideological impurity. Since then, however, the Hungarian music industry has begun to recover, producing successful performers in the fields of jazz such as trumpeter Rudolf Tomsits, pianist-composer Károly Binder and, in a modernized form of Hungarian folk, Ferenc Sebő and Márta Sebestyén. The three giants of Hungarian rock, Illés, Metró and Omega, remain very popular, especially Omega, which has followings in Germany and beyond as well as in Hungary. Older veteran underground bands such as Beatrice, from the 1980s, also remain popular.
In the earliest times, Hungarian language was written in a runic-like script (although it was not used for literature purposes in the modern interpretation). The country switched to the Latin alphabet after being Christianized under the reign of Stephen I of Hungary (1000–1038).
The oldest remained written record in Hungarian language is a fragment in the Establishing charter of the abbey of Tihany (1055) which contains several Hungarian terms, among them the words feheruuaru rea meneh hodu utu rea, "up the military road to Fehérvár" The rest of the document was written in Latin.
The oldest remained complete text in Hungarian language is the Funeral Sermon and Prayer (Halotti beszéd és könyörgés) (1192–1195), a translation of a Latin sermon.
The oldest remained poem in Hungarian is the Old Hungarian Laments of Mary (Ómagyar Mária-siralom), also a (not very strict) translation from Latin, from the 13th century. It is also the oldest surviving Uralic poem.
Among the first chronicles about Hungarian history were Gesta Hungarorum ("Deeds of the Hungarians") by the unknown author usually called Anonymus, and Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum ("Deeds of the Huns and the Hungarians") by Simon Kézai. Both are in Latin. These chronicles mix history with legends, so historically they are not always authentic. Another chronicle is the Képes krónika (Illustrated Chronicle), which was written for Louis the Great.
Renaissance literature flourished under the reign of King Matthias (1458–1490). Janus Pannonius, although he wrote in Latin, counts as one of the most important persons in Hungarian literature, being the only significant Hungarian Humanist poet of the period. The first printing house was also founded during Matthias' reign, by András Hess, in Buda. The first book printed in Hungary was the Chronica Hungarorum. The most important poets of the period was Bálint Balassi (1554–1594) and Miklós Zrínyi (1620–1664).
Balassi's poetry shows Mediaeval influences, his poems can be divided into three sections: love poems, war poems and religious poems. Zrínyi's most significant work, the epic Szigeti veszedelem ("Peril of Sziget", written in 1648/49) is written in a fashion similar to the Iliad, and recounts the heroic Battle of Szigetvár, where his great-grandfather died while defending the castle of Szigetvár. Among the religious literary works the most important is the Bible translation by Gáspár Károli (The second Hungarian Bible translation in the history), the Protestant pastor of Gönc, in 1590. The translation is called the Bible of Vizsoly, after the town where it was first published. (See Bible translations into Hungarian for more details.)
The Hungarian enlightenment took place about fifty years after the French enlightenment. The first enlightened writers were Maria Theresia's bodyguards (György Bessenyei, János Batsányi and others). The greatest poets of the time were Mihály Csokonai Vitéz and Dániel Berzsenyi. The greatest figure of the language reform was Ferenc Kazinczy. The Hungarian language became feasible for all type of scientific explanations from this time, and furthermore many new words were coined for describing new inventions.
Hungarian literature has recently gained some renown outside the borders of Hungary (mostly through translations into German, French and English). Some modern Hungarian authors have become increasingly popular in Germany and Italy especially Sándor Márai, Péter Esterházy, Péter Nádas and Imre Kertész. The latter is a contemporary Jewish writer who survived the Holocaust and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002. The older classics of Hungarian literature and Hungarian poetry have remained almost totally unknown outside Hungary. János Arany, a famous 19th-century Hungarian poet, is still much loved in Hungary (especially his collection of Ballads), among several other "true classics" like Sándor Petőfi, the poet of the Revolution of 1848, Endre Ady, Mihály Babits, Dezső Kosztolányi, Attila József and János Pilinszky. Other well-known Hungarian authors are László Krasznahorkai, Ferenc Móra, Géza Gárdonyi, Zsigmond Móricz, Gyula Illyés, Albert Wass, Miklós Szentkuthy and Magda Szabó.
Hungarian cuisine is a prominent feature of the Hungarian culture, just like the art of hospitality. Traditional dishes such as the world famous Goulash (gulyás stew or gulyás soup) feature prominently. Dishes are often flavoured with paprika (ground red peppers), a Hungarian innovation. The paprika powder, obtained from a special type of pepper, is one of the most common spices used in typical Hungarian cuisine. The best quality of paprika comes from the city of Kalocsa . Thick, heavy Hungarian sour cream called tejföl is often used to soften the dishes' flavour. The famous Hungarian hot river fish soup called Fisherman's soup or halászlé is usually a rich mixture of several kinds of poached fish.
Other dishes are chicken paprikash, foie gras made of goose liver, pörkölt stew, vadas, (game stew with vegetable gravy and dumplings), trout with almonds and salty and sweet dumplings, like túrós csusza, (dumplings with fresh quark cheese and thick sour cream). Desserts include the iconic Dobos Cake, strudels (rétes), filled with apple, cherry, poppy seed or cheese, Gundel pancake, plum dumplings (szilvás gombóc), somlói dumplings, dessert soups like chilled sour cherry soup and sweet chestnut puree, gesztenyepüré (cooked chestnuts mashed with sugar and rum and split into crumbs, topped with whipped cream). Perec and kifli are widely popular pastries.
The csárda is the most distinctive type of Hungarian inn, an old-style tavern offering traditional cuisine and beverages. Borozó usually denotes a cozy old-fashioned wine tavern, pince is a beer or wine cellar and a söröző is a pub offering draught beer and sometimes meals. The bisztró is an inexpensive restaurant often with self-service. The büfé is the cheapest place, although one may have to eat standing at a counter. Pastries, cakes and coffee are served at the confectionery called cukrászda, while an eszpresszó is a cafeteria.
Pálinka: is a fruit brandy, distilled from fruit grown in the orchards situated on the Great Hungarian Plain. It is a spirit native to Hungary and comes in a variety of flavours including apricot (barack) and cherry (cseresznye). However, plum (szilva) is the most popular flavour. Beer: Beer goes well with many traditional Hungarian dishes. The five main Hungarian brands are: Borsodi, Soproni, Arany Ászok, Kõbányai, and Dreher.
Wine: As Hugh Johnson says in The History of Wine, the territory of Hungary is ideal for wine-making. Since the fall of communism there has been a renaissance in Hungarian wine-making. The choice of quality wine is widening from year to year. The country can be divided to six wine regions: North-Transdanubia, Lake Balaton, South-Pannónia, Duna-region or Alföld, Upper-Hungary and Tokaj-Hegyalja.
Hungarian wine regions offer a great variety of styles: the main products of the country are elegant and full-bodied dry whites with good acidity, although complex sweet whites (Tokaj), elegant (Eger) and full-bodied robust reds (Villány and Szekszárd). The main varieties are: Olaszrizling, Hárslevelű, Furmint, Pinot gris or Szürkebarát, Chardonnay (whites), Kékfrankos (or Blaufrankisch in German), Kadarka, Portugieser, Zweigelt, Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc and Merlot. The most famous wines from Hungary are Tokaji Aszú and Egri Bikavér . Tokaji, meaning "of Tokaj", or "from Tokaj" in Hungarian, is used to label wines from the wine region of Tokaj-Hegyalja. Tokaji wine has received accolades from numerous great writers and composers including Beethoven, Liszt, Schubert and Goethe; Joseph Haydn's favorite wine was a Tokaji . Louis XV and Frederick the Great tried to outdo one another in the excellence of the vintages they stocked when they treated guests like Voltaire to Tokaji. Napoleon III, the last Emperor of France, ordered 30–40 barrels of Tokaji for the Court every year . Gustav III never had any other wine to drink . In Russia, customers included Peter the Great and Empress Elizabeth of Russia .
For over 150 years, a blend of 40 Hungarian herbs has been used to create the liqueur Unicum. Unicum is a bitter, dark-coloured liqueur that can be drunk as an apéritif or after a meal, thus helping the digestion.
Hungary is a land of thermal water. A passion for spa culture and Hungarian history have been connected from the very beginning. Hungarian spas feature Roman, Greek, Turkish, and northern country architectural elements.
Because of an advantageous geographical location, good quality thermal water can be found in great quantities on over 80% of Hungary's territory. Approximately 1,500 thermal springs can be found in Hungary (more than 100 just in the Capital area). There are approximately 450 public baths in Hungary.
The Romans heralded the first age of spas in Hungary. The remains of their bath complexes are still to be seen in Óbuda. Spa culture was revived during the Turkish Invasion and the thermal springs of Buda were used for the construction of a number of bathhouses, some of which such as (Király Baths, Rudas Baths) are still functioning.
In the 19th century, the advancement in deep drilling and medical science provided the springboard for a further leap in bathing culture. Grand spas such as Gellért Baths, Lukács Baths, Margaret Island, and Széchenyi Medicinal Bath are a reflection of this resurgence in popularity. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the largest spa complex in Europe and it was the first thermal bath built in the Pest side of Budapest . This building is a noted example of modern Renaissance Style. Located on the Buda side of Budapest, the Gellért spa is the most famous and luxurious thermal complex of the capital city.
Ugrós (Jumping dances): Old style dances dating back to the Middle Ages. Solo or couple dances accompanied by old style music, shepherd and other solo man's dances from Transylvania, and marching dances along with remnants of medieval weapon dances belong in this group.
Karikázó: a circle dance performed by women only accompanied by singing of folksongs.
Csárdás: New style dances developed in the 18–19th centuries is the Hungarian name for the national dances, with Hungarian embroidered costumes and energetic music. From the men's intricate bootslapping dances to the ancient women's circle dances, Csárdás demonstrates the infectious exuberance of the Hungarian folk dancing still celebrated in the villages.
The Legényes is a men's solo dance done by the ethnic Hungarian people living in the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania. Although usually danced by young men, it can be also danced by older men. The dance is generally performed freestyle by one dancer at a time in front of a band. Women participate in the dance by standing in lines to the side, and singing or shouting verses while the men dance. Each man performs a number of points (dance phrases), typically four to eight without repetition. Each point consists of four parts, each lasting four counts. The first part is usually the same for everyone (there are only a few variations).
It was in the beginning of the 18th-century that the present style of Hungarian folk art took shape, incorporating both Renaissance and Baroque elements, depending on the area, as well as Persian Sassanide influences. Flowers and leaves, sometimes a bird or a spiral ornament, are the principal decorative themes. The most frequent ornament is a flower with a centerpiece resembling the eye of a peacock's feather.
Nearly all the manifestations of folk art practiced elsewhere in Europe also flourished among the Magyar peasantry at one time or another, their ceramics and textile being the most highly developed of all.
The finest achievements in their textile arts are the embroideries which vary from region to region. Those of Kalotaszeg in Transylvania are charming products of Oriental design, sewn chiefly in a single color – red, blue, or black. Soft in line, the embroideries are applied on altar cloths, pillow-cases and sheets.
In Hungary proper, Sárköz in Transdanubia and the Matyóföld in the Great Hungarian Plain produce the finest embroideries. In the Sárköz region the women's caps show black and white designs as delicate as lace, and give evidence of the people's wonderfully subtle artistic feeling. The embroidery motifs applied to women's wear have also been transposed to tablecloths and runners suitable for modern use as wall decorations.
These vessels, made of black clay, reflect more than three hundred years of traditional Transdanubian folk patterns and shapes. No two are precisely alike, since all work is done by hand, including both the shaping and the decorating. The imprints are made by the thumb or a finger of the ceramist who makes the piece.
Founded in 1826, Herend Porcelain is one of the world's largest ceramic factories, specializing in luxury hand painted and gilded porcelain. In the mid-19th century it was purveyor to the Habsburg Dynasty and aristocratic customers throughout Europe. Many of its classic patterns are still in production. After the fall of communism in Hungary the factory was privatised and is now 75% owned by its management and workers, exporting to over 60 countries of the world.
Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture is a Hungarian manufacturer of porcelain, pottery, ceramics, tiles and stoneware. The company introduced the eosin glazing process and pyrogranite ceramics. The Zsolnay factory was established by Miklós Zsolnay in Pécs, Hungary, to produce stoneware and ceramics in 1853. In 1863, his son, Vilmos Zsolnay (1828–1900) joined the company and became its manager and director after several years. He led the factory to worldwide recognition by demonstrating its innovative products at world fairs and international exhibitions, including the 1873 World Fair in Vienna, then at the 1878 World Fair in Paris, where Zsolnay received a Grand Prix.
Hungary has the third-highest number of Olympic medals per capita and second-highest number of gold medals per capita in the world. Only seven countries (United States, USSR/Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, Italy and Germany) have won more Olympic medals than Hungary. With a total of 476 medals in Olympiads of the modern era, Hungary ranks eighth out of 211 participating nations.
Hungary has historically excelled in Olympic water sports. In water polo the Hungarian team is the leading medal winner by a significant margin and in swimming Hungarian men are fourth most successful overall, while the women are eighth most successful overall. They have also seen success in canoe.
In 2009, the Hungarian national ice hockey team qualified for their first IIHF World Championship. In 2015, they qualified for their second World Championship in the top division.
Hungary has remarkable football history, having won three Olympic titles, finishing runners-up in the 1938 and 1954 FIFA World Cups, and third in the 1964 UEFA European Football Championship. Hungary revolutionized the sport in the 1950s, laying the tactical fundamentals of Total Football and dominating international football with the remarkable Aranycsapat ("Golden Team"), which included legends like Ferenc Puskás, top goalscorer of the 20th century, to whom FIFA dedicated its newest award, the Puskás Award. The side of that era has the second all-time highest Football Elo Ranking in the world, with 2166, and one of the longest undefeated runs in football history, remaining unbeaten in 31 games spanning more than four years, and including matches such as the Match of the Century.
The post-golden age decades saw a gradually weakening Hungary, though recently there is renewal in all aspects. The Hungarian Children's Football Federation was founded in 2008, as youth development thrives. For the first time in Hungarian football's history, they hosted the 2010 UEFA Futsal Championship in Budapest and Debrecen, the first time the MLSZ staged a UEFA finals tournament. Also, the national teams have produced some surprise successes such as beating Euro 2004 winner Greece 3–2 and 2006 FIFA World Cup winner Italy 3–1. Although they have not qualified for a major tournament's finals since 1986, they came semi-finalists at the 2008 European Under-19 Championship and qualified for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup which saw their U-20 national team gaining third place to bring home Hungary's first major tournament medal in nearly half a century, feeding their hopes of a future revival.
- Outline of Hungary
- Index of Hungary-related articles
- Telecommunications in Hungary
- Countrywide Blue Tour in Hungary
- Curse of Turan
- Healthcare in Hungary
- Palaces and mansions in Hungary
- Hungarian notation
- Hungarians in Romania
- Name days in Hungary
- National symbols of Hungary
- Wendish question
- Tourism in Hungary
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"Every experiment, made from Hungarian antedecents and on Hungarian soil, to create a conscious musical culture (music written by composers, as different from folk music), had instinctively or consciously striven to develop widely and universally the musical world of the folk song. Folk poetry and folk music were deeply embedded in the collective Hungarian people's culture, and this unity did not cease to be effective even when it was given from and expression by individual creative artists, performers and poets."
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